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Health & Safety Vibrations Ahlsell


Vibration injuries occur when working with vibrating machines. Approximately one in ten are subjected to hand and arm vibration in their profession, and one in ten are subjected to whole-body vibration. Symptoms most commonly occur when it is cold or damp, and the resulting damage can be irreversible.

The higher the vibration exposure, the greater the risk of injury. This is measured in terms of both the strength of the vibrations and the duration of exposure.

Active protection against vibrations

The following provide a good foundation for protecting against vibration injuries:

Keeping track of the limit value
Make sure that the limit value for daily exposure to vibrations is not exceeded.

Working preventively
Let the tool do the work and do not use more force than necessary, avoid sharply bent wrists and vary the work between your right and left hand.

Choosing the right equipment
Use tools and machines with low vibration values, and make sure that users have access to the correct vibration-reducing gloves.

What are vibration injuries?

Vibrations – About 1 out of 10 workers are subjected to hand or arm vibrations. Working with vibrating machinery can pose a health risk, where injuries from hand and arm vibrations can be irreversible.

What are the risks/symptoms of vibration injuries?

The risk of vibration injury depends on how much the machine vibrates and how long the machine is used.

Problems usually occur when it is cold or damp. The most well-known is the risk of “white fingers”, as one or more fingers whiten. Even nerves in the fingers can be affected, resulting in numbness and loss of sensation.

Industries/roles commonly at risk of vibration injuries

Many occupational groups are exposed to vibrations, and the occupations with the highest number of reported work-related injuries due to vibrations in 2015–2017 were:

  • Carpenters, masonry workers and construction workers
  • Transport and machine operators
  • Metalworking and repair professions
  • Agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fishing
  • Automotive industry/workshops
  • Installation and service jobs
  • Warehouse personnel and transport managers

What does the law say?

Work must be planned, carried out and monitored in such a way as to minimize the risks arising from exposure to vibrations by eliminating vibrations at the source or reducing them to the lowest possible level.

The employer must ensure that workers exposed to risks resulting from vibration exposure receive information and training concerning these risks.

The employer is obliged to assess the risks that the worker will be exposed to injury or accidents as a result of vibrations. The risk assessment must be performed regularly and updated in connection with changes in operations or when medical checks show that it is needed.

How to protect yourself against vibration injuries

By investigating, risk assessing, rectifying and following up on the work, the risks associated with vibrations can be eliminated or minimized as much as possible.

  • Do not use more force than needed; let the tool do the work.
  • Vary the work between your right and left hand.
  • Avoid bending your wrist at a sharp angle.
  • Rotate between different work operations.
  • Keep your hands warm and dry.
  • Take breaks.
  • Avoid nicotine.
  • Go for medical check-ups.
  • Wear the correct anti-vibration gloves

Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Örebro University Hospital.


  • Vibration exposure is determined by both the strength of the vibrations and the time exposed to them.
  • Action value: Value for daily vibration exposure, A(8), which requires action from the employer if exceeded.
  • Limit value: Value of daily vibration exposure, A(8,) not to be exceeded.
  • By cutting the vibration strength of a machine in half, the working time can be increased fourfold before reaching the same exposure.
  • The manufacturer or supplier must state in the instructions for use how much the machine vibrates.
  • If hazards such as sparks, oil, moisture, etc. exist, use the correct glove material.
  • Use time is not extended by using vibration-reducing gloves according to the Swedish Work Environment Authority's scoring matrix, but you protect your hand and prevent the risk of problems such as white fingers.
  • Tools with high acceleration peaks and frequencies are the most harmful.
  • Influence of the individual: How much pressure, what material, how hard you hold the tool.
  • Vibration stick

Other risk areas

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